• Activities,  Cottage School

    Field Trips and Free Days!

    We are fortunate in Arizona to have many opportunities to visit museums and more for free (or at a deep discount). I’ve noticed that more and more opportunities for free days are popping up everywhere, and when you’re educating at home, these benefits are worth taking a day off to go explore! In Arizona, we have something called First Fridays where a variety of museums and local businesses offer free entry. We love First Fridays, and it’s worth doing some research in your own state to see what discounts are available. Here are some other places in Arizona that offer free days: The Desert Botanical Gardens  The Children’s Museum of…

  • Cottage School

    A Typical Cottage School Day

    One of the reasons we love cottage school is that we make it fit our needs on a weekly basis. Last week, Annie wrote about how our morning opening time has changed over the year as we evaluated what we really needed; then we were able to make those changes easily. We encourage you to think about what your educational needs may be and see how the flexibility provided by a cottage school can meet them. Our version of cottage school is just one way of doing it. For example, we meet once a week on Mondays, but it might work better for your group to meet a few times…

  • Cottage School,  English

    Adjectives and Adverbs

    After gaining an understanding of nouns, pronouns, and verbs, the next parts of speech children can learn to identify are adjectives and adverbs.  ~Adjectives modify or describe nouns or pronouns. It’s important to teach these after your child learns nouns and pronouns.  ~Adverbs modify or describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. It’s important to teach these after your child learns how to recognize verbs. The easiest adverbs to recognize are the ones that end in -ly.  Often these two parts of speech are confused or misused (as in swapping “good” for “well” and vice versa). Also, some adjectives end with -ly, so you really need to make sure your child…

  • Activities,  Cottage School

    English Tea With Kids

    Several years ago, I saw a friend post about how she tried to tea weekly with her three boys, and I thought the idea was a sweet and special way to slow down and spend time with her kids. About five years ago, I started intermittently doing the same thing with my three boys, and we have since added two more girls to our family who both LOVE tea parties. We had the chance to do an English tea (or what we understood to be an English tea) for one of our Cottage School lunches, and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it! Here is what we did: Used a nice tablecloth…

  • Cottage School

    Cottage School “Morning Time”

    “One thing leads to another” could be aptly applied to our opening routine at cottage school weekly. When we began a couple of years ago, our opening routine was to gather the kids and say, “Time for science. Sit down!” Then we added an opening prayer and a few announcements/instructions. At the beginning of this year, we decided to be serious about opening time, so we started with quiet reading in the living room (while some moms would prepare for class) and doing presentations. Each family took a week to present on a rotating schedule. Soon after that, we added singing a hymn, which led to including a brief discussion…

  • Cottage School,  Curriculum,  Fathers

    What Do Homeschool Dads do?

    The dads of Cottage School Life play a significant part in homeschooling. A lot of attention is put on what we–the homeschooling spouses–do, but we cannot forget the role of the spouses who spend most of their time working hard in their careers. In our four families, the dads do most of the work outside our homes. We recognize not every homeschool family looks the same (some dads do most of the homeschooling), so this post is to highlight some differences since all of the dads play roles in our homeschools in various ways. We want to share those with you:  Annie’s husband John tutors their children in Latin and…

  • Cottage School,  Curriculum,  English

    Eight Parts of Speech

    After learning about nouns and verbs, the next part of speech you can teach is pronouns. Pronouns take the place of nouns so that we don’t sound ridiculous when we speak. If we didn’t have pronouns, we would speak in third person! (Christie thinks that Christie has to go to Target to buy what Christie wants.) Thankfully, we have pronouns so that we don’t repeat ourselves over and over again or sound insane. Even though pronouns seem to be an easy part of our language, some problems in usage still arise. It’s best to teach your children 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person (pronoun case) to the point they understand that…

  • Cottage School,  Learning Disabilities

    Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA)

    When my children first had evaluations for learning disabilities, we received services through our local school district for speech. I didn’t know, at the time, since they were kindergarten age, they qualified for an Arizona Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. The ESA program allows parents to take a portion of the funds the public school normally receives for that child to use for tutors, qualified therapists, curriculum, and much more. It wasn’t until two years later, and a dyslexia diagnosis, that I began to understand we could use ESA to help with remediation therapy, which the school did not provide. This post will share more about what an ESA is…

  • Cottage School

    Cottage School Lunch Ideas

    Having lunch together when classes are finished for the day at Cottage School is one of my favorite things! The kids get to enjoy new food items and play outside together, while the moms get to relax and enjoy some lunch and conversation. When making food for a large group, keep it simple, but also consider 1-2 side options for those children who may have allergies or be picky eaters.  Early on, I (Jenny) attempted to serve lunches that had a theme. This was super fun, but I also ran out of steam after six weeks. Whatever you decide to do, I usually let the families know via text message…

  • Cottage School

    Is Cottage School Affordable?

    If you have been reading our posts about cottage school and how we decided to switch from participating in a large homeschool co-op to this smaller, home based cottage school, you might be wondering if cottage school is affordable. Our cottage school meets once a week in Jenny’s home, and all four of us moms volunteer our time. We think one of the strengths of this model is it’s affordability. At the larger co-op we all attended, we had to pay for facility costs, tuition, curriculum, and childcare for our younger children. The total cost would be into the thousands per year. While this is clearly way less than a…